Picturing Mexico: Alfredo Ramos Martínez in California
January 19 – April 20, 2014
Known for his distinctive contribution to modernism, Alfredo Ramos Martínez's paintings and murals were deeply informed by both the European academic traditions he had absorbed while traveling abroad and by the social and populist art that was beginning to take root in Mexico. Picturing Mexico: Alfredo Ramos Martínez in California is the first comprehensive examination by a museum of this Mexican artist's work produced in California between 1929 and 1946. Although initially hailed as an innovator, Ramos Martínez was quickly left on the outskirts of the artistic trends that dominated Mexico City in the 1920s when his peers, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros— los tres grandes — and their rejection of Europe and academic traditions, rose to prominence. Seeking opportunities to continue his own modernist style, he moved to Los Angeles. With the United States on the brink of a depression, much of his work from that period reveals both the economic and cultural climate of the country as well as his individual response to Mexico from Los Angeles. Explored through four sections — "L.A. Stories," "Many Women," "Religious Piety," and "Forever Mexico" — the exhibition highlights the contributions of this remarkable artist and firmly places him alongside his contemporaries in the narrative of early twentieth century art.
This exhibition is curated by Amy Galpin, Ph.D., Curator, Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Florida. It is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art and will travel to the Nevada Museum of Art, where it will be on view from May 10 to August
This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and the Robert Lehman Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Hilbert Collection, Robert and Ruth Mirvis, George and Irene Stern, Dwight Stuart, Jr., and Louis Stern Fine Arts.
Media sponsor: American Fine Art Magazine
Alfredo Ramos Martínez, El Lago de Mil Cumbres / The Lake at Mil Cumbres, ca. 1940.
Tempera and Conté crayon on board, 24 13/16 x 23 7/16 inches. Collection of Lawrence Janss. © Alfredo Ramos Martinez Research Project, reproduced by permission.
January 19 – April 20, 2014
Serigrafía surveys the powerful tradition of information design in California's Latino culture, featuring thirty influential silkscreens from the 1970s to the present. Beginning in the late 1960s, graphic art created at and distributed by artist-led collectives, or
centros, contributed significantly to the public discourse. Emerging in concert with the civil rights movement and demanding political and social justice for marginalized groups, these prints confront political, economic, social, and cultural issues on both a personal and a global level.
Curated by seven design experts, the exhibition examines how both aesthetics and portability are key aspects of the prints as communicative and educational objects. Unlike work created for galleries or museums, the poster's primary function is to clearly give voice to a complex message in very different environments.
Challenging the traditional notion of a "poster," the selected prints exemplify the impact of effective and moving communication through the printmaking process. Capturing momentous cultural and political events and experiences, the works in the exhibition explore subjects such as the United States embargo against Cuba, and the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and are conceived to provoke, protest, and praise.
This exhibition was organized by Exhibit Envoy and is funded by the James Irvine Foundation. It is supported by the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Carrie Adrian, and Susan Davis.
Ester Hernandez, Sun Mad, 1982. Silkscreen print, 31 ½ x 25 ¼ inches. Courtesy of the Collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles.
Flora Kao: Homestead
January 19 – April 20, 2014
With the project Flora Kao: Homestead, artist Flora Kao highlights the poignant histories of the deserted shacks that dot the Mojave Desert, remnants of America's most recent wave of manifest destiny. By virtue of the Small Tract Act of 1938, homesteaders could claim five acres of expendable public land, prompting a mid-century land rush by Los Angelenos into the neighboring desert. The majority of these structures were eventually abandoned due to the harshness of desert living. Focusing on a prefabricated cabin standing on the verge of collapse in Wonder Valley, Kao explores human relationship with respect to landscape, mapping, and notions of home and placelessness.
Through life-size rubbings of each side of the dilapidated shack's four walls, Kao captures the homestead at a specific moment in its decay. Suspended vertically in the PMCA's Project Room, the canvas rubbings envelop the viewer in fields of gestural black marks that echo the original structure's form and texture. Mapping absence and presence, Homestead offers the viewer a visceral encounter with erasure and accumulation, inviting meditation on the ease and inevitability of loss in a land of new beginnings and deferred dreams.
Flora Kao: Homestead is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Kao is a recipient of an ARC grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.
Flora Kao, photograph of Flora Kao: Homestead in progress in Wonder Valley, 2013. Image courtesy of the Artist.